Education reform could hike college tuition

(March 11, 2004) - (Little Rock-AP) -- University trustees say tuition increases are likely if state higher education funding is stripped to pay for upgrades in the Arkansas public schools system. State estimates show that higher education may have to give up from 14 million to 56million dollars. Carl Johnson, a member of the University of Arkansas Board of Trustees, says money will be diverted from higher education if a three-mill property tax increase on the November ballot fails. Officials from the state Department of Finance and Administration told the trustees yesterday that the tax is unlikely to be approved. That will leave the state's general fund to pay for new, court-ordered public school improvements in kindergarten through 12th grade. Johnson said that probably means tuition hikes, although that can backfire if it discourages middle- and lower-income students from attending college.